By romesh dalal <email@example.com>
I am a die-hard fan of Shankar-Jaikishan Music and their huge contribution to Bollywood Film Industry. NASHAUD-SAHEB enjoyed Shankar-Jaikishan’s music so much for that he said “SHANKAR-JAIKISHEN WERE NOT MUSICIAN BUT THEY WERE SIMPLY JUST MAGNIFICIENCE MAGICIAN”. How true it is when we listened to their music and songs. Raj Kapoor had an unerring eye for talent across all fields of cinema. He had spotted Shankar and Jaikishan who were musicians with Prithvi Theatres and later they were assistants to Ram Ganguly. As assistants to Ram Ganguly, they had given a huge musical contribution to the first RK film production AAG. After that SJ as music director team came on the scene in 1948 for the RK banner film BARSAAT. BARSAAT created a huge musical miracle on the Hindi film screen. As a matter fact, Raj Kapoor was very knowledgeable about various musical instruments and music. We had witnessed this talent in Raj Kapoor’s films were we enjoyed seeing him playing different musical instruments. Barsaat – a phenomenon A classic film by Raj Kapoor’s “BARSAAT” started that trend of filmy revolution. In this revolution the major contribution was made by Shanker – Jaikishan in Hindi film industry. Their fresh tunes and orchestration lead the paradigm shift from the then prevailing monotonous thekas and droning cadences. The music of “BARSAAT” opened up yet another channel for making money – the ‘records’ broke the ‘records’ of earning money independent of the film. Legend has it that the composer of “ANDAZ” (released in the same year) – Naushad went to its producer – Mehboob Khan for celebrating the huge success of his film “ANDAZ” songs. It was raining then and Mehboob Khan, looking out of the window said to Naushad, ‘Aapke Gaanon ko to ‘Barsaat’ ne dho dala’! This was the comment made by Mehboob Khan after a huge success of BARSAAT. So this was the power of SJ music in India right after our independence in 1947. Barsaat made NIMMI a Super Heroin It was Raj Kapoor, who named Nimmi when he introduced her in Barsaat. How she got selected for Barsaat is an interesting story. Nimmi came from Lahore with her aunt and was staying with Sardar Akhtar and Mehboob Khan. Mehboob Khan’s Andaaz was almost complete and Raj Kapoor who was acting in the film, had launched Barsaat. Raj Kapoor was in search of a new face for the role. Being a fastidious man, he had already rejected many girls. Nimmi had gone with Sardar Akhtar on the sets of Andaaz and was sitting besides Nargis’ mother Jaddanbai. Raj Kapoor came up to Jaddanbai, wished her and then looked at Nimmi. Nimmi felt so shy that she could barely acknowledge him. Raj Kapoor returned to the floor and asked Mehboobsaab about Nimmi. Raj Kapoor told Mehboobsaab, ‘I want this girl for my film.’ Nimmi didn’t know what to do. She wanted to accept the offer but was worried about her grandmother’s reaction. So Sardar Akhtar called her grandmother. Surprisingly her grandmother agreed. So Nimmi was called for a screen test. She was given some dialogues, which she mouthed in an absolute trance. A round of applause brought her out of her stupor. The next thing Nimmi knew was that she had been chosen for Barsaat. Nimmi was deliriously happy and was cast opposite Premnath. Infact, Nimmi had the most extra ordinary relationship with Raj Kapoor. During the filming of Barsaat, a rakhi scene was being shot and Raj called out to Nimmi. ‘Nimmi do you know the meaning of rakhi? ` She nodded. ‘Okay, tie it on my wrist. From then on Nimmi became his rakhi sister all his life. As a matter fact, Nimmi was always given due respect by the entire Kapoor household. Surprisingly Jaikishan was only the 16 years old when he started this musical journey at the time of giving music for the first time as a music director with Shankar, in the Hindi film “Barsaat”. Shankar & Jaikishan explored & learned the right way to please the cinema mass right after this huge success. Before them, until that time, we had many famous, well known and good music directors of Hindi cinema, like Anil Biswas,Husnlal-Bhagatram, Khemchand Prakash, Roshan, Naushad, Ghulam Muhammad and so on. The old Hindi film music was good but it was not that appealing to mass audience. Very soon SJ realized that the film industry needed a boost to change the way music was played in those days. SJ immediately started executing their ideas, where they were the first one to introduce orchestra and duets songs in the Hindi films. That change made them instant hit. That journey started with BARSAAT where they followed the original Indian classical music. Shankar and Jaikishan had the vast knowledge about the use of different musical instruments. We have over the time, experienced that being played in their songs. It was also noticeable that every Hindi movie produced with SJ-MUSIC, provided a classical dance item with classical music. Between them, they had tremendous understanding about their musical work distribution that Shankar would do “the theme-song at RK” while Jaikishan would handle the background score. Shankar’s passion was the tabla and the classical dance compositions. He learnt the tabla fundamentals from Baba Nasir Khansahib. As we know, SHANKARJI was very knowledgeable on classical dances. Not only that but Shankar and Jaikishan loved the RAAGA Bhairavi. A touch of Bhairavi we experienced with the songs from Shree 420, “Mera joota hai Japani” and Ramaivya vastavaiyya”. Jaikishan loved Bhairavi so much that made him to name “Bhairavi” to his daughter. They made classical music and Ragas a backbone of their music. Soon they also proved to be outstanding in giving background music in their films. As we know, Jaikishan, in those days, was considered the expert in providing the background music for the films. Until present time, nobody has beaten Jaikishanji in providing that most soothing BACKGROUND MUSIC in the Hindi films. Shankar Jaikishan contributed a lot to the world of music in India right from the day they began working as music directors. Music composed by them was extensive. It was based on classical Indian music (‘Dil ek mandir hai’, ‘O basanti pawan pagal’) and even on western music (‘Sukoo sukoo’, ‘Raat ke hamsafar’). Their music was characterized by a special style. For the record, Shankar Jaikishan produced an album “ Raga Jazz Style” where they experimented: Raga Todi Raga Bhairav Raga Malkauns Raga Kalavati Raga Tilak Kamod Raga Mian Ki Malhar Raga Bairagi Raga Jaijaiwanti Raga Mishra Pilu Raga Shivranjani What else you expect from a music director! I rate SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN as the number-1 music director in the Hindi Film world. This composer duo was the most versatile through the 50s and 60s. From the Barasat hit “Hawa Main Udadta Jaye”, Aawara hit ’Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi’ to classical songs in Basant Bahar and Seema, and I still bet no one can give the classical music like Aamrapli. In fact Shankar-Jaikishan used Indian Classical Ragas to compose most of their songs to mixed with the westernized tunes as experimented in “An Evening In Paris, Zuk Gaya Aasman, ’Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ki Charche Har Zabaan Par’ (Bramhachari)” songs. SJ could create a melody to suit any mood or emotion. They were masters in conducting orchestra. Accordion, Sitar, Mandolin, Sarod, Vina, Guitar, piano etc. were the special instruments used frequently in their music. SJ in their life span won as many as 9-Filmfare Awards out of a total of 150 Hindi movies (compared 6-Filmfare Awards out of 600 movies by LP). That is the highest number of awards ever won by any Bollywood music directors till present day. SJ won these Filmfare Awards for: Chori Chori (1956), Anari (1959), Dil Apana Aur Preet Parayi (1960), Professor (1962), Suraj(1966), Bramhachari (1968), Pehchan(1970), Mera Naam Joker (1971), and Beiman (1972). SJ used to give around 4 to 5, some time all, hit songs in each of their films. Particularly, SJ under RK-banner gave the most memorable and un-forgetful musical hits for the films like Barasat, Aah, Aawara, Boot Polish, Shree 420, Jis Desh Main Ganga Behati Hai, Sangam, Mera Naam Joker. The other hit songs of SJ music includes films like Halaku, Daag, Badshah, ZINDAGI, Aarzoo, Dil Ek Mandir, Hamrahi, Aai Milan Ki Bela, Suraj, Teesari Kasam, Love In Tokyo and many more. Noted Music Director Anu Malik (and Hasrat Jaipuri’s Nephew) says that Raj Kapoor had dug a well full of everlasting music and Shankar Jaikishan drew water out of it. Though SJ never approved their separation, the fact is that the two did started working separately in the mid-60s. The reason is attributed to the fact that Shankar introduced a new singer Sharda (famous for her song Titli Udi… in the movie SURAJ) much against the disagreement of Jaikishan. Further Shankar’s fondness for Sharda & Jaikishan’s inclination towards Lata Mangeshkar created differences between the two and in the mid-60s the split. How can we forget these famous Duo of composers who gave songs all the way from Jaan Pehchan ho (a melody still very famous in the west), Badan Pe Sitare (a tune that has been used in many songs in current Bollywood), Baharon Phool Barsao (a very nostalgic tune that is the only happy song ever to be created in the raga shivrangini), all the way to classical movies such as BASANT BAHAR. RASIK BALMA – IMPACT Rasik Balma song is from the old Hindi film Chori Chori (1956), which was based on Raga Shudh Kalyan. There is another song Chand Phir Nikla (Film: Paying Guest of 1957), which was composed by Maestro S.D.Burman. In fact, both of these two songs “ Rasik-Balama and Chand Nikala” sound so similar. These two songs were composed by two of the greatest Hindi film music directors of all time Shankar-Jaikishan and S.D. Burman respectively around the year 1956. It is surprising to note that both these music directors never composed any Hindi song based on Raga Hamsadhwani, a melodious South Indian classical raga. Both songs were composed independently by the above two music directors. Since both songs were composed on Raga Shudh Kalyan, both have the same bandishi or pakkad. And this is the reason why both songs sound so similar. In the background, a light rhythm of ghungaoos was played so as to enhance the beauty of both songs. There was no question of one being a copy of the other. In those golden years of 1950s, one could not even think of plagiarism, which unfortunately is rampant in some of the present day Hindi film-music. Both songs were brilliantly sung by the great Lata Mangeshkar. The immortal Lata Mangeshkar has stated that these two songs are two of the best songs of her career among her other favorite songs such as Aaja re pardesi (Film: Madhumati), Ayega aanewala (Film: Mahal) and Ye zindagi usiki hai (Film: Anarkali). Actually, when this song Rasik Balma was being picturized on actress Nargis, Nargis declared that she would not require any Glycerin on her eyes to emote for this song. After hearing the song, Nargis knew that there was no need to use Glycerin during the picturization of the song, since the great Lata Mangeshkar had already used her deep emotions while singing the song, and that was enough to create natural tears. Glycerin is normally used in the film industry to create tears artificially in the eyes of the actor or actress for sad scenes. From reliable sources, it is known that the above song Rasik Balma was composed by Jaikishan. Generally, the opening (sthaayi) of the song is set within a medium octave, but this song opens on a very high note. During recording, Lata Ji had pointed this out to Jaikishan Ji saying that people are going to blame her for singing this song at such a high pitch and people might say that they cannot even hum it! But the brilliant Jaikishan told Lata Mangeshkar that the beauty of this song lied entirely on singing it at a high pitch, and finally the song was sung at a high pitch and the rest is history. In 1956, from India, Lataji called Mehboob Khan, the famous Producer and Director of Oscar nominated Film: MOTHER INDIA who was undergoing a medical treatment in a hospital in Los Angeles in USA. At that time, Mehboob Khan told Lataji that he was very impatient to hear the melodious soulful song RASIK BALMA from Lataji herself over the phone, since the record of this song was not available in USA at that time. “Oh, Rasik Balma from Chori Chori…?” asked Lataji and she sang the entire song over the phone for Mehboob Khan. She sang this song over the telephone every single day while Mehboob Khan was recuperating in the Los Angeles hospital. Later, Mehboob Khan admitted how much this song had helped him recover faster from his illness. This proves the power of the song “Rasik Balma”, which could heal an ill person. There were many other great composers such as RD & SD Burman, O.P Nayyar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Naushad, Roshan, Khayyam etc. When we analyzed these music directors’ musical contribution on the scale of versatility, they perhaps would be nowhere close to Shankar Jaikishan. If RD Burman gave music to movies like Yadon Ki Baraat, Kati Patang and Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, there isn’t a single movie in which he gave classical numbers. Same goes for SD Burman who made some very good semi-classical and classical numbers but had a better success in making more western numbers such as “Rangeela-re” after RD Burman started to assist him. Naushad and Khayyam definitely had very good classical numbers but not a lot of western mixed numbers. As far as I remember most Semi Classical Songs Of Shankar Jaikishan are among the Best in the Hindi film industry. If you were knowledgeable in the Indian Classical music, you would be able to tell the difference between music that is made today compared to the music that was made in 50s and 60s. 50s and 60s definitely had better music that 70s and later because Shankar Jaikishan used massive orchestra’s that gave you songs that were truly special such as Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe, Dil Ke Jharokhe Mein, Kaun Hai Jo Sapno Mein Aaya (a song that had a tune from Elvis Presley’ song but sounded much better with the type of composition SJ converted it into). The song Awara Hoon was very famous in countries like Russia, England and France because European type of music. If anyone ever heard Scottish music you would be surprised to hear how much it resembles the song Dil Ki Nazar Se from the movie Anari. As far as I know AR Rehman is below every music director from the old Bollywood. The problem is that no MUSIC composer today including Rehman knows how to make a raga-based mixed composition. We are pretty much forgetting our own heritage and going after music played in the west. SJ proved that what a fusion between classical and western can do in songs like Baharon Phool Barsao (Raga Shivrangini) and Yaad Na Jaye Beete Dino Ki (Raga Kirwani). A person who is trained in western music would definitely be able to identify the jazz, and rock and roll style in Shankar Jaikishan compositions. A classical musician or singer will be able to identify the Raga on which any of SJ compositions would be based but not from Rehman’s music because there is no Raga in his music just Rhythms and so called “western melody” that he hasn’t even mastered properly. CULTURAL IMPACT I have done detailed research on how the Hindi-Film Music influenced the World. Indian cinema, with its characteristic film music, has not only spread all over Indian society, but also been on the forefront of the spread of India’s culture around the world. In Britain, Hindi film songs are heard in restaurants, on radio, and TV-channels, dedicated to Asian music. In Greece the genre of indoprepi sprang from Hindi film music while in Indonesia dangdut singers like Ellya Khadam, Rhoma Irama and Mansyur S., have reworked Hindi songs for Indonesian audiences. In France, the band Les Rita Mitsouko used Bollywood influences in their music video for “Le petit train” and French singer Pascal of Bollywood popularized filmy music by covering songs such as “Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana“. In Nigeria Bandiri music—a combination of Sufi lyrics and Bollywood-style music—has become popular among Hausa youth. Hindi film music has also been combined with local styles in the Caribbeanto form “chutney music“. Recently I was touring in Marrakesh, a big city in MOROCCO, where I found local people were talking to me in Hindi and inquiring about SHAHRUKH KHAN. They were also asking me about the film “KABHI KHUSHI KABHI GAM”. Then I noticed that there is a big Cinema Theater showing only HINDI FILMS in a regular show. I was just stunned to learn that Moroccans also enjoy the Hindi Films & Music just like Indians. Now I can say with confidence that Hindi films have conquered the great part of the world. Bollywood leads the world in viewer numbers as well as film-production volumes. Soviet Russia was a key part of that story. Russians have been enjoying popular Indian melodrama and musicals since the first festival of Indian films in Moscow in 1954. This delegation was conducted by Raj Kapoor. This was the occasion for Russians and the world to listen to Shankar-Jaikishan’s music for the first time out side of India. In fact, Russian box office statistics suggest that Indian movies were more popular than any other foreign films shown in the Soviet Union. In the period between 1954 and 1989, for example, while 41-American and 38-French movies attained “blockbuster” status (“blockbuster” defined as selling more than 20-million tickets) in the Soviet Union, 50-Indian movies did the same. Fascination with Hindi Songs The number of songs that were adapted by the foreign countries from Hindi movies is considerable. From the 111 movies known to have come, as well as from others whose importation is uncertain, 105 Greek renditions were identified. Many came from the best-known Hindi movies that are from Awaara, Shree 420, Mother India, Ghar Sansaar, Laajwanti, and Aan. Many Hindi songs engendered duplicates, triplicates, and quadruplicates. For example, “Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua” (Shree 420) and “Gao Tarane Man Ke” (Aan) have four renditions, “Unchhi, Unchhi Dunia Ki Diware…” (Naagin) and “Aa Jao TaRapte Hai Arman” (Awaara) has three. At least 10 others have duplicates. Of all songs, 57 (55%) have a great similarity with pre-existing songs; 25 (24%) deviate significantly from the originals, 16 (16%) are partial renditions, where other melodies are mixed with Hindi, and 5 (5%) use only some musical bars. In overseas countries most Hindi songs copies were temporary hits or remained obscure. However, 11 were still known among the general public in 1998, about 35 years later. The best remembered in the 1990s were: “Aa Jao TaRapte Hai Arman” from Awaara, one of three renditions of this song by Stellios Kazantzidis; “kardia mou kaimeni” (my poor heart –“Dunia Me Ham Aaye” from Mother India), “auti i nyxta menei” (this night remains — Ulfat Ka Saaz Chhedo from the 1953 MehboobKhan’s Aurat), “oso axizeis esy” (as much as you are worth — “Dunia Walon Se Duur” from Ujaala”). In foreign countries mainly in Middle East and Greece, Mother India, Awaara, and other movies established Nargis as the great priestess of the family dramas, with Madhubala a close second. The ability of these heroines to express pain made the beautiful and haunting songs that they sang instant hits. It was only natural that the emotions of the poor Greeks would be expressed through those very same melodies. Thus, starting in 1959, Greek-language renditions of many songs appeared. As the above article implies, the transformed songs had a big problem: Plagiarism. With few exceptions, the songs appeared as creations of at least 26 Greek musicians. The copying was systematic. Some Greek-musicians copied some Hindi songs on reel tape recorders directly from movie theaters, and in other cases, music companies ordered records from India and distributed them to willing people for copying. The names of Naushad Ali, Shankar-Jaikishan, and Chitalkar Ramachandra were never heard in Greece. When India conquered Greece Here’s a superbly researched article from World Bank economist Helen Abadzi on Greek songs that were inspired from Hindi film songs. Ms. Abadzi writes: The most Hindi movies were considered working-class fare. They had much less appeal for the middle-class, which looked westward for entertainment, wanted more humor, and was not plagued by the social dilemmas of the poor and the limited solutions available to the heroines. Nevertheless, many saw the Hindi masterpiece movies. In February 1960, Mother India premiered without much advertisement in Kotopouli, a downtown theater in Greece, on a snowy day. The first few curious spectators were so moved by watching this movie in the theater that they stopped strangers on the way out and told them not to miss that “social gospel”. Four hours later, a waiting moviegoers line two city blocks long had formed, and the movie played in some Greek town or other at least for the next 10 years. I can’t pay enough tribute to Shankar-Jaikishan, as their creation can never be reviewed within any human domain – except that it can only be felt; and we, as human being, can always take advantage to listen to their divine tunes. I always refer to them as two angels who visited this world, and left their divine impression with mankind forever. Shankar Jaikishan remains an enigma for all basically because two different people with completely different backgrounds, different natures, different attitudes, and different temperament but together they created the most harmonious, highly original and unparalleled creative music in the annals of Bollywood Film history. This is the most astounding and intriguing aspect of their creation. Hydrogen and oxygen are two different elements. They have their own properties and their own original existence. But when they come together they have created something entirely different from both their original character…Water! Water is something so unique that nothing equals it in the entire creations of any chemical element. Water is life giving, without water there would be no life. Similarly, Shankar Jaikishan were the two different entities; together they created water like magic. Without each other, they are like hydrogen and oxygen, however much they wanted to, they individually could never create the magic called water. They needed each other to do it. This is the story of Shankar Jaikishan. But, as human beings what they are, they would like to know what created this magic? Who is more creative? Who is more talented? Whose contribution is more in creating the magic? That is why we have to touch upon the most painful and least understood, least known aspect of their creations, who created what? At the end, I just would like to add my comment on the current status of Bollywood: However, with the death of stalwart composers like S.D. Burman, C. Ramchandra, Naushad, Madan Mohan, Salil Chaudhary, O.P. Nayyar, Roshan, Ghulam Mohammad, Jaidev and Shankar-Jaikishan, the quality of the Hindi music declined. The standard of lyrics nosedived with the death of Sahir, Shakeel, Rajender Krishan, Shailendera, Hasrat Jaipuri, Raja Mehndi Ali Khan etc. The untimely death of Rafi, Mukesh, Manna Dey, Mahendra Kapoor, Kishore and Talat created a huge void, which the successor singers could not fill up. Indian film music is progressing ahead but without any meaningful tunes or lyrics or music. What we experience now a days, is loud instrumental noise, western rhythm, and meaningless wordings in film songs. Rarely we hear some good music with lyrics.